Cover Stories – Richard Easter
Eight Classic Songs Remixed as Short Stories
A new kind of book that takes some of pop’s greatest tracks
and “covers” them as short stories.
So would you like to find out…
What does it take to join Ed Sheeran’s A Team?
Where The Beatles’ Dear Prudence went out to play?
Who David Bowie’s Major Tom really was, and how he became lost in space?
Why The Rolling Stones’ Devil needed Sympathy… And more to the point, did he deserve it?
These and other musical questions are answered in Cover Stories, a literary collection that’ll sit equally at home alongside your LPs as lined up with your books.
The tales travel from Hitler’s bunker to deep space, from boy meets girl, to girl meets drugs. Angels walk in Hackney and New York eats the innocent. The occupants of interplanetary craft have big plans for earth. These stories are moving, thought-provoking and hilarious, often all at once.
This collection is the perfect gift (and self-gift!) for all music fans. We’ve had Britpop, so watch out, here comes Litpop.
Cover Stories has been written in enhanced stereo, so please put on your literary headphones, set the pages to 33rpm and read. LOUD.
About the Author
Richard Easter was born and raised in South East Essex. He’s been a professional writer for 30 years, after starting as sketch writer and co-presenter on BBC Radio One’s highly successful ‘Steve Wright in the Afternoon’.
From there, he moved into TV entertainment, where he worked and wrote some of the U.K’s biggest shows, including ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’, ‘The Voice’, ‘You’ve Been Framed’, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, ‘Harry Hill’s TV Burp’ and many more. He has seen more bugle beads than any man should in one lifetime.
Richard’s never been far from music – He’s had a Top 5 single, performed on Top of The Pops three times and played drums for The Bee Gees (badly). He’s written for the NME, got lost in Broadcasting House with George Michael, watched legendary dance act the KLF burn a wicker man on the Isle of Jura, was first to play the Manic Street Preachers on national daytime radio, and has interviewed too many pop stars to count including Elton John & Whitney Houston, plus Paul McCartney made him tea.
He also managed to track down Joy Division’s actual synthesiser, bought it, then broke it. Not a high point.
He lives in Manchester with his wife, daughter and an ever-increasing / decreasing number of cats.
His debut novel, The General Theory of Haunting reached number 2 in Amazon’s Ghost/Suspense category.
Praise for The General Theory of Haunting
“Easter definitely knows how to put you in the character’s shoes and make you feel the creepiness of a snow-heavy winter, creaking doors and whispering walls.”
“…a chilling masterpiece…great writing, well developed characters…a twisting plot…a unique story. Enjoyed it tremendously.”
“Richard Easter has a way with words and he manages to present the plot like you are under the impression that you are watching a movie, not reading a book.”
“Just superb, the author’s mastery of words and meaning…gives this novel, which is a wonderfully creepy supernatural thriller, an extra edge.”
Excerpt from Space Oddity
Heathrow Space Dock, 8th January, 1947.
David Jones, “Major Tom”, sat in his tin can, alone. Oh yes, there were many voices in his ear, millions around the world listening on the radio, even a few thousands lucky enough to watch on the televisual, but despite all that attention, he was alone.
He could only see two small circles of sky through the windows of his capsule. If something were to go wrong, he thought, this would be my last ever view of Planet Earth. Just blue. No trees, no seas, no people. Just this endless blue sky.
Funny how something you see every day becomes the only thing in your mind when you realise you may never see it again, he thought. Happy bloody birthday to me. It was an unusually blue sky for a January day. Normally, London skies in winter were slate grey and sulky, but today, it was open to him and his tin can. The sky welcomed Major Tom to the heavens.
Maybe when I get up there I’ll see what eternity looks like, he thought. Maybe that’s where the Angels live, up there, dancing an ever circling dance in the stars. I am Odysseus, off onto the wine-dark sea of forever. Penelope waits.
He shook his head inside his helmet. Those kinds of thoughts wouldn’t do. He often drifted like this, away from the moment, into other realities.
He frowned at himself. The world saw him as the Starman. The cool, analytic adventurer, rider of rockets, eyes fixed to the beyond.
But then there was this other, strange side to him which few ever saw.
It’s almost as if there is another David Jones somewhere and we meet in our dreams. David thought. I chose to enter the military, but in other universes, maybe many different David Jones exist. Perhaps, somewhere, I am a great leader of men, on a dais, dressed in black, saluting a fanatical crowd, or in another reality I’m a simple troubadour, guitar across my back, serenading the ladies from town to town, station to station. Or maybe elsewhere I’m just a clown.
Perhaps. Probably not. If there are other versions of me, I hope they are happy.
But there was only this world, this universe and this David Jones. He had one face and it had served him well. Wasn’t his face the reason he was up here, strapped to a tank full of high explosive, whilst his brother waited on the ground?
It could have been Terry. Maybe it should have been Terry, who was always, ironically, the more grounded of the brothers, therefore the one better qualified to leave the ground. Yes, Terry was stable while David felt the ground beneath him shake. His sanity had been leeching away for some years now, not enough for anyone to notice, but there was a whispering madness waiting in the corners of his thoughts. Perhaps that’s where these weird drifts into poetry came from?
No, put them aside.
I am a Starman. A steely-eyed, cool as ice Starman. There is no place in my mind for wonder, just the business at hand.
“Twenty minutes until launch, Major Tom,” said a voice in his headset. It was Pitt, flight director, and the only person at Brixton Ground Control allowed to call him “Major Tom,” over the airwaves.
At first, the British Space Navy had baulked at that nickname. “Major Tom?” they’d puffed in various memos. Knowing its provenance, they hadn’t considered it “gentlemanly” but when the public got wind of the name, they embraced it enthusiastically. The British people got the joke immediately. Nobody said it out loud but everyone knew “Major Tom Jones” had once been quite the womaniser. It gave hi a dashing, pin-up quality. Mind you, his good looks, boy-next-door South London accent and taste for well-cut suits also helped.
The B.S.N. quickly realised that “Major Tom” was an asset. He resembled a movie star, but unlike Hollywood leading men, David wasn’t playing a brave, death-defying adventurer, he was the real thing; a Starman.
The B.S.N. had played with various names for their rocket pilots. “Rocketeers”, “Space Riders”, even dabbling with Greek – “Astronauts” (but that was considered a little too esoteric”; “Starman” said it all.
David was designated S3, “Starman Three”.
Terry was SM1, Captain Mark Feld, God rest his soul, had been SM2.
Captain Feld died when his J4 capsule ignited during training. Afterward, the B.S.N. moved away from highly flammable capsule oxygen, but that was too late for Feld. Perhaps if the stars had aligned differently, Mark would have lifted off whilst David stayed put, wondering what may have been.
“Pulse is in range, oxygen good. Flight is go across the board. Anything you want to get off your chest, Major T?” David could hear the smile in Pitt’s voice.
“No, everything is across the board here. Slight drop in air pressure, nothing in red range. You seeing that?”
“Osterberg is across that and he’s… yes, he’s go. Weather holding. If I went up to the roof, I’d be able to see you. It’s a beautiful day.”
“I think everyone in the South East will see me.”
“That’s true. What was it Sir Winston said?”
They spoke together as one, “If you build a big enough rocket…”
“Oh, Sir Winston’s decided to watch from the viewing platform at Heathrow 1. You could give him a wave. He’s the reason we’re all here.”
“In more ways than one,” agreed David.
“Temperature holding green and steady, Tom. All in the E’s. Mild for January. God’s given everyone a lovely public holiday.”